Creating: Fused Charm

Since Heart & Communion (post coming all about it and the pre-festivities in Grapevine, TX!), I've been having the best time creating new charms. Who knows, maybe a few will end up in my shoppe!

Silver Bella 2010...

Did you hear? Have you seen?

The dates for the 5th annual Silver Bella have been announced!

I can't wait to see what Teresa has up her sleeves!

April is right around the corner... I'll be ready for registration FOR sure!

Check out Teresa's Blog for more information!

Cooking: Asian Style Beef with Sugar Snap Peas

This recipe is one of our favorites. It’s great with other vegetables instead of or with the peas. I like to add water chestnuts, sliced onions (like onion strings), and pieces of carrots. The sauce is also fantastic to use with beef and broccoli.


6 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 pound beef round steak, cut into thin strips
8 ounces snow peas


In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium high heat. Stir-fry ginger and garlic for 30 seconds. Add the steak and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until evenly browned. Add the snow peas and stir-fry for an additional 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer until the sauce is thick and smooth. Serve immediately.

Cooking: Easy Potato Rolls

While planning this week’s groceries and doing a pantry/on hand check, I realized I had a lot of potatoes that needed to get used. I sent out an SOS on Facebook looking for ideas on how to use those puppies up. Among the fantastic suggestions was Potato Rolls. Later I realized that I had a recipe, that I had found a few years ago, that was wonderful and also included mashed potatoes.

This recipe is great for rolls, but is also great as a sweet bread recipe. Potatoes naturally have some sugar in them, so this recipe will do well for cinnamon rolls and other sweet breads. Plus, this recipe makes enough bread dough for 3 9” round pans. So, there’s plenty to have rolls for dinner and then breakfast bread the next day!


2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup mashed potatoes
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
4 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water (110 – 115 degree’s Celsius), divided
6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Add potatoes, salt, and eggs. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 2/3 cup warm water; add to creamed mixture. Beat in 2 cups of flour and remaining water. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Shape into a ball; do not knead. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; divide into thirds. Shape each portion into 15 alls and arrange into three greased 9-inch round baking pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Cooking: Easy Shepherd's Pie

This recipe is super duper easy, and is a family favorite. Of course, you can’t go wrong with mashed potatoes with a meaty gravy in my book. I love eating this on a chilly day – it’s a tummy warming meal for sure. Tonight I’ll be serving this with potato rolls.

Plus, if you’re in a pinch for time, use instant potatoes and canned veggies!


2-3 cups mashed potatoes
1/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 package brown gravy sauce
1 cup water
1 bag (8-10 oz) frozen carrots & pea mixture
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen green beans
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.)

Mix mashed potatoes and 1/4 cup shredded cheese; set aside. Sauté chopped onion in oil until onions are clear. Add ground beef and cook until well browned. Pour off excess fat, then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add worcestershire sauce, ketchup and brown gravy sauce. Once it has all been evenly mixed, stir in the cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

While the meat is browning and simmering, put the all of the frozen veggies into a glass bowl and thaw them out in the microwave for 4 or 5 minutes. Drain the excess water and add them to the beef and sauce mixture.

Spread the ground beef in an even layer on the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown.

Feeling Disappointed...

Over the last few days, I've been looking back on past entries and working on blog redesign ideas while beating the bug that's flying around our neighborhood. It's really no fun when your body is fighting you and you feel like your head is getting ready to implode - but I tried to make do.

And, being true to my completely type A personality, I can't just sit around and do nothing. Seriously. I know. Something is wrong with me. (Don't be too shocked but, I did manage to sleep for a good 15 or 16 hours - if anything, it's an annual occurrence for me)

So working on my blog it has been.

And, when I asked a few friends to give me their advice on main subjects, one of them kindly reminded me that I haven't been sharing my craft projects on my blog - that I hadn't shared any projects in a looooong time!

You know what? I went back over my blog to check things out for myself, and shut my mouth wide open - SHE WAS RIGHT!!!

The reason why I started this blog, way back in 2005, was to share creative ideas and things I had made. Of course, way back then it was going to be about scrapbooking and stuff (and the blog before this one was all about scrapbooking).

I'm feeling disappointed in myself for getting away from what I had originally intended. I create all the time! I mean ALL.THE.TIME! My friends and coworkers constantly comment about how creative they think I am, and how I'm so "Martha Stewart" (and they add on... in a "good way" - as if there was a "bad way"!) or "of course you made that". It saddens me to realize that I haven't shared those things here, my online journal.

And, to be honest, the world of Facebook has made it incredibly easy to update one's status with photos rather than updating one's blog!

Please don't think that I think I'm some wonder woman at making stuff. I'm not. I'm just like most of you - I need to make something to release stress. Some people work out, some travel, some drink, some eat, some sleep - I create. (I eat too, and my pants are rather snug so I need to work out and eat less also!) I sew, I cook, I make jewelry, I make cards, I play with paper - I do so much that I haven't shared.

With those thoughts in mind, I'm going to commit myself to being better at sharing what I've made.

What I Love About You: 14 Reason Why I Love You... the Steve Edition

Today is Valentine's Day and as I think back over the years and the different ways I've celebrated this Hallmark holiday, I can't help but think how today (and the last 4 years since we've been married) I get to celebrate with you.

Granted, I don't need Valentine's Day for you to tell or show me that you love me. You do it every day and in ways I didn't realize I would come to know as signs. I don't need roses, chocolates, or jewelry to know that you love me - I already know and am confident in that knowledge.

That being said... here are 14 reasons why I love you, my husband.

14. You do 95% of our household laundry because you see how crazy busy I am. You even bought me a label machine for me to label my drawers and you would know where my clean clothes go.
13. You give me time to have "me" time, on my own without any pressure or guilt and you support me in my creative endeavors - even when they sprawl out of my room.
12. You are smart and loyal.
11. When I think I'm a horrible mother, you remind me that we're in this together and that I am a great mother.
10. You try to fix things yourself, even when you know we should just suck it up and call a professional.
9. You love me despite my faults.
8. You are an amazing father to our son.
7. You encourage me to continue moving forward when I think all hope is lost. (you're always right too - hope is not lost)
6. You buy me Sonic drinks when I need them but definitely don't deserve them.
5. When I'm stressed out about work, you give me a hug and tell me to quit.
4. When ever I'm feeling insecure in our relationship, and in your expectations (or what I perceive your expectations are), you cover me in a bear hug, tell me I am exactly what you want, and try to find out where the source of my insecurities are.
3. You work hard to provide for us, for our future, and so much more.
2. When not stressed, you are optimistic to a fault.
1. You are my husband, my one and only, and I love you forever and ever + infinity x 3.

Cooking: Thai-Style Spring Roll Salad with Red Curry Shrimp

This recipe is one of our all-time favorite summer recipes. We've enjoyed it as written with shrimp, but have also done it with chicken and fish (ahi or tilapia work best). It's light, fresh, and has a great kick of spice. Yes, there are a lot of ingredients, and quite a few steps. I promise you that you that they're worth it


3/4 lb large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 teaspoon red curry paste *

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 pinch salt

Cooking oil, for sautéing shrimp

3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon fresh gingerroot, minced

2 teaspoons fish sauce *

2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce *

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 ounces dry rice noodles *

3 cups iceberg lettuce

1/2 cup carrot, julienned

1/2 cup cucumber, seeded and sliced into half-moons

1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn

Chopped peanuts (optional)

Wonton wrapper, sliced into strips and fried (optional)


MARINATING THE SHRIMP: Mix the curry paste, sugar, oil and salt in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and stir to coat. Marinate shrimp for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the components of the dish.

VINAIGRETTE: Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients except for the oil in a mixing bowl. Using a whisk, gradually mix in the oil. Set aside.

NOODLES: Bring a pan of water to boiling and remove from heat. Soak the dry noodles in the boiling water until soft (approximately 3-4 minutes). Drain softened noodles and rinse, making sure that noodles are not clumped together.

VEGETABLES: If salad vegetables are not already prepared and chopped, do so now. Do not toss them together at this point, but keep them separate.

COOKING THE SHRIMP: Heat cooking oil in a skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat, Sauté marinated shrimp (cooking both sides) until firm, approximately 5 minutes.

FRIED WONTON STRIPS: If desired, slice a small stack of wonton wrappers into thin strips. Fry in hot oil until golden brown and crispy. Drain and set aside. Purchased chow mein noodles can be added in place of the crispy wonton strips for crunch.

ASSEMBLY: Divide salad components evenly between two plates. Top with cooked shrimp and optional garnishes. Toss with the vinaigrette to taste.


Everything indicated with an asterisk (*) can be found in most grocery stores, but if you cant find them, check your local Asian market. I have been able to find them in Tom Thumb/Safeway stores.

Cooking: Brisket Taco’s

This is very simple recipe, with few ingredients, that packs an awesome punch. We love love love it!


4lb brisket

Garlic Powder

Ground Cumin

Kosher Salt


Green Tomatillo Salsa

Corn or Flour Tortillas

Taco Toppings (everyone has their own preferences)


Put the brisket into a crock-pot with the fat on top. Sprinkle garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper on top (I just cover the brisket – I don’t measure it out). Pour the entire bottle of green salsa on top. Add the lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours.

Take the cooked brisket out, remove the fatty layer, and then shred the meat. Put the meat back into the crock and let it cook for another hour. I also removed about a cup of the juices to use in a Mexican rice dish I served with it.

Ta da.. you’re DONE! J

Cooking: Swedish Sour Cream Cookies

Another favorite cookie recipe! This one made with sour cream is über delish with a slight zing from the sour cream. LOVE it! Somewhere I have the changes I made to this recipe to make it fat free. I looked, but haven’t found it yet. Nuts…


1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour (enough for desired consistency for rolling)


Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Mix in baking soda, baking powder and enough flour to create a consistency for rolling. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out dough to a 1/4-to 3/8-inch thickness using a generous amount of flour. Cut out shapes and bake on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 8 minutes.

Cook on a wire rack.

Frost and decorate as desired.

Cooking: Soft and Light Sugar Cookies...

I’ve been told that this is the original Lofthouse Cookie recipe, but since I got it from a friend who got it from a friend, who got it from their friends dogs neighbors nieces neighbors teacher (you get the drift)… I can’t vouch for it. However, I DO know that they ARE light, fluffy, and soft like they should be.


2 eggs
2 C. sugar

2 C. regular shortening
2 C. heavy cream

1 t. vanilla
2/3 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
4 cups flour


Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper (Steve-o got me using it, and it really does make a difference when baking cookies. AND, it saves time when you have a bunch to bake!).

Cream the shortening and sugar together until smooth, creamy, and fluffy. Add the egg, cream and vanilla. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Slowly add them to the wet mixture, only until evenly blended.

At this point you can refrigerate overnight, roll them out and cut. Or, you can drop them by rounded scoops onto the parchment paper (how I do it – I’m lazy).

Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes or until set. You don’t want them to brown on top, and barely brown on bottom.

Cool and frost!


I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a fan of the frosting on Lofthouse Cookies. Really, I’m not a fan of frosting at all, unless it’s PMS time and then it’s only a good (and I mean REALLY good) butter cream for me. that being said, this is a good recipe, and I’ve never gotten a complaint!


1/2 C. Butter
1/2 C. Shortening
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar


Blend the butter, shortening, egg whites, and flavorings together in a mixer for a minute or so. This will look funny, like little lumps in liquid. That's OK. Then add 1/2 the sugar and gently start to mix, then mix on high for a minute until all lumps are smooth. Add the remainder of the flour. Gradually increase your mixer volume to high as the sugar blends in. Leave mixer on high for two minutes (scraping sides once). The consistency is perfect, and the flavor is very close to me!

Frost your cookies, and leave them in an airtight container overnight. Crazy as it is… they will get softer overnight. Weird science!

Cooking: Breakfast Strata

I wholeheartedly admit that this is not my recipe, and that I probably would not have tried it, if I had not had it at HeART and Communion last weekend. Deb kindly made it for us and it was amazing! In fact, we scraped the first pan clean (before we realized there was a second - that Deb is one smart woman!) This dish is also an easy way to use up the leftovers you have in your fridge, with the left over bread you have sitting on your counter to create a simple and delicious breakfast for your family. I’m making it on Valentines for my little family – in a heart shaped dish at that.


1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped spinach

1 cup cubed fully cooked meat (sausage, bacon, ham – or a combination)

3/4 cup chopped onions

3/4 cup chopped green pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tablespoons cup vegetable oil

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup half-and-half cream

6 eggs

2 cups cubed day-old bread (croissants are divine!)

1.5 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper


In a large skillet, sauté the vegetables (except for the spinach) and meat in oil until vegetables are tender. Drain and pat dry; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and cream until smooth. Beat in eggs. Stir in the bread, cheese, salt, pepper, spinach and vegetable mixture.

Pour into one greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dishes. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


  • The key to firm, not soggy veggies, is to sauté the veggies but make sure you place them on paper towels and blot them to absorb excess moisture before mixing them in.
  • You can assemble this whole thing the day before and just pop it in the oven the day of the event.
  • If you have leftovers, cut and freeze into single servings. Then, you can thaw each serving as needed later.